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Health Care Representative

A health care representative is named in an advance directive and makes health care decisions when you are incapable of making your own decisions.

What Decisions Can a Health Care Representative Make?

Your representative can make all main decisions regarding your medical care. Your representative, however, can only make decisions to administer or remove life support and/or artificially administered food and water if you specifically give him or her such authority in your advance directive. Click here to learn more about health care advance directives.

How Does My Health Care Representative Make Decisions?

Your health care representative must act consistently with your desires as expressed in your advance directive or as you otherwise make your desires known to him or her. In the absence of instructions, your representative has a duty to act in a manner he or she, in good faith, believes to be in your best interest.

Are There Any Decisions a Health Care Representative Cannot Make?

Your representative cannot make decisions regarding the following treatments: commitment to or placement in a mental health treatment facility, convulsive treatments, psychosurgery, sterilization or abortion.


Your representative is also unable to insist you receive life support if it has been medically confirmed that you are in a confined condition, permanently unconscious, in an advanced stage of a progressive and fatal illness or in the event that such life support would cause permanent and severe pain.